TRIESTE, 12-Jul-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, and Vice-Governor for Financial Strategy, Carlo Monticelli, participated in the Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, Italy.
The 2017 Summit, which was organised by the Italian government, is the fourth annual Summit held within the framework of the Berlin Process initiative for the European integration of Western Balkan states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).
In his keynote address, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, stressed the importance of the rule of law as a prerequisite for the economic and social development of the Western Balkan countries, their further integration into the European community and also for private sector investment.
Governor Wenzel said that, while investments in roads, railways and energy infrastructure were important, economic and social cohesion could not be achieved without ensuring that social needs were met, particularly in the areas of education, health and social housing.
Vice-Governor Monticelli presented the CEB’s activities in support of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the region, which contributed to job creation and generated income.
The CEB is a founding member of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), a common financing platform which supports economic, social and environmental infrastructure investments in the region.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank’s target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody’s, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor’s, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.